Fear has a way of gripping, seizing and otherwise stopping people in their tracks. Fear of failure has to be the greatest of all fears next to the biggest one—fear of death. When the fear of losing all one has worked for to obtain confronts a person, the instinctive reaction is first panic and then irrational actions. Both of these reactions generate negative results which compound the problem.
Fear is like a disease which creeps into the mind and slowly but surely takes over thought patterns and influences the decision making process. Fear is irrational and thus the decisions made out of fear are irrational. Fear is counterproductive and thus when allowed to influence our thinking it generates results which only serve to foster more fear.
The purpose of a terrorist attack is to generate fear and panic more than anything else. The immediate destruction is important, but the long term fear is the main objective. Terror is not a nice word, and to terrorize is one of the ugliest words in the English language. Nothing harms people more than to live in a state of terror for in that state there is no freedom but only bondage.
Fear and terror are the cruelest of all slave masters and they rule with an iron fist. When a person, community or nation is ruled by a tyrant utilizing fear tactics, the resulting submission is obtained at the cost of individual initiative and personal liberty. Living under the cloak of fear produces nothing but bondage and a timid lifestyle void of any risks and joy.
The greatest realm of fear currently is of course finances. With the ongoing, and seemingly never ending onslaught of negative news regarding everything from the Stock Market to house foreclosures to job losses, etc there has settled over the world a growing fear that things will never be as they were during the years of prosperity fueled by unbridled greed. As the reality of horrible mistakes made years ago catches up with the current situation, things just keep getting worse due to the enormous deceit and evil practiced by so many for so long.
Times are tough and getting tougher by the day for millions of people. The numbers of us who have to deal with the gnawing fear that within a few months there will not be enough money to even pay the mortgage, let alone all the other bills, is growing daily. Those who have lost 50% or more of their net worth and have gone from equity positions to being “upside down” in their homes are the ones most at risk of yielding to fear.
Somehow there is a way out of the wilderness and that way can be found if fear is kept at bay and sound practices of financial stewardship are practiced. As is evidenced by the current flood of negative earnings reports by major corporations, Americans have been cutting back on purchases which is the only sound and logical thing to do in times such as these. But, in so doing this, the ripples spread throughout the whole economy as one sector after another suffers a downturn in business. It is, indeed, a vicious cycle.
Whether all the bailouts and stimulus packages which have come and are coming will really do much to stimulate the economy, promote job growth and halt the foreclosure crisis is open for debate and won’t be known for months or years. What is a known reality is that if fear is allowed to take hold and dictate decision making whether in Washington or everyone’s kitchen table; the results will be opposite to what everyone desires and the problems will compound.
In these troubling times, it behooves the wise person to first be patient and secondly be prudent. Now is not the time for outlandish and risky moves. If ever there was a time to dig in and hang on, it is now. Budget your resources as best you can with the mortgage being most important followed by utilities and other living expenses. The vultures circling who lured us into getting their credit cards will just have to live off the scraps for awhile. The tactics being employed by the major banks by cutting credit lines and raising interest rates for even good customers is deplorable and I pray it backfires on them.
Normally I would never advocate paying the minimum per month on a credit card bill, but if it comes down to paying more or losing your house; it is a no brainer. In due time all this will work out one way or the other and we all will either be living in tents somewhere or the ship will right itself and the good times will come again. Until then, the main thing is to stay calm and not panic. Refuse to act out of fear and of course trust in the Lord for guidance, provision and wisdom. That is all any of us can do.